Writing in the Sand

April begins our new study of plants, flowers and things that grow!  Carter caught me switching out materials last night, so he woke up ready to go this morning.  I did manage to get him to finish half of his breakfast before we dove into the first activity.

He first chose the sand tray.  I can’t say that I blame him.  Though it was so simple to make, the feeling of drawing in the sand is such a peaceful and relaxing one. I had to play with it for a bit last night.  I used an aluminum baking tray (the size meant for toaster ovens) and some superfine craft sand that I had laying around from my artsy crafty days.

I introduced the sand tray to Carter by showing him that letters can be formed in the sand using our fingers.  I watched him draw letters and make up words: CEET=SEAT.  When his finger turned into a racecar and began to make roads through the sand, I took that as my cue that he was ready to move forward.

Next, I used some leftover card stock from my cutting adventures (which you will see the results of throughout the month in various activities) to make some short words and simple pictures for him to use with the sand tray.  Be sure to stick with short words, unless you have a BIG tray.  And, I am a fan of computer generated ANYTHING, but it’s also important that you model drawing and writing for your child often.  This is one way.

And, I wanted to share something from yesterday evening.  While I was making dinner, Carter pulled out an activity from the past.  As you can see, I had already began to reuse the construction paper for other things, so I’d marked the place setting paper off his interests.  But last night he brought it back out for the purpose of a snack party with some of his fluffy friends.

But then, sometimes walking around with a cool box on your head is more fun than anything!  I couldn’t help but think about the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin.  (They made fun of his child for walking around with a box on his head.)

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

This activity can also be seen on One Hook Wonder’s Montessori Monday.


Making a Rainbow

Pouring water

To explore Carter’s interest in rainbows a little more, I came up with this simple activity for him to be able to make his own (while working those fine muscles and following a process at the same time).

Included on this tray is: a bottle of water, 4 plastic bowls, a basket with coffee filters cut in half to make rainbow shapes (the really big ones would work better but I wasn’t able to find them), a dropper and an old dark-colored kitchen towel (for absorbing extra water through the filter).  Food coloring drops were also used, but this was a mommy only materials because of their clothes staining properties.

As with all his activities, I first let him watch me go through the process.  I took the materials off of the tray, spread out the towel, laid out a coffee filter, added a few drops of coloring to each bowl, poured each cup half full of water and used the dropper to drop colors onto the towel.  Then, I modeled how to clean it all up before letting Carter give it a try.


The last activity we did with water was Pouring.  I made the mistake of walking away for a few minutes to use the restroom.  When I returned, he was attempting to pour all the colored water back into the bottle resulting in a pretty big mess.  My go-to reaction would be “NOOOO! Don’t do that.”  But, I’m reading and learning more about the Montessori method all the time.  If a child doesn’t reach mastery, correction and drawing attention to their mistakes is not appropriate.  Instead I helped him clean up and told him that we would try it again on another day, making a note of what steps to demonstrate again the next time he chooses to make a rainbow.

Enjoy and thank you for your comments!

Sorting by Color

A few days ago we saw a rainbow after a spring storm.  I’m sure it wasn’t the first one he’s seen, but it’s the first one that made a big impression on him.  I’ve added a few rainbow activities for the last part of this month and our study of the weather.

To make this one, dig through your craft bins and locate those colored pom poms.  Though I’d love to use some creative and more attractive containers, these leftovers from my homemade baby food making days work nicely.  Add colored construction paper circles in the bottoms of the small bowls and a pair of tongs, and you have a sorting and fine motor activity.  This activity has been on our shelf for two days now and I’m sure that Carter chooses to complete it a few times a day.  I woke this morning to find him sitting as his small table sorting pom poms.


Enjoy and thank you for your comments!